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Two-thirds of UK adults unsure how to recycle plastics

Two-thirds (66%) of UK adults admit to feeling unsure about how to recycle some types of plastic, a new report has revealed.

Two-thirds (66%) of UK adults admit to feeling unsure about how to recycle some types of plastic, a new report has revealed.

The State of Plastic Recycling, a report commissioned by packaging company Hi-Cone, is based on YouGov surveys with 5,509 adults from Mexico, Spain, the US, and the UK about their behaviours and attitudes towards plastic packaging recycling.

Released this week, it showed that UK adults topped the charts for uncertainty around recycling, with the average across all territories at just 60%.

Despite this, Brits were also among the keenest recyclers of the respondents, with 92% of UK adults reporting that they regularly recycle at home, and 63% that they regularly recycle in public recycling bins, compared to global averages of 75% and 69% respectively.

Almost half (45%) of UK respondents reported recycling all of their plastic waste either at home or in public.

The report also shows that one-third of adults across all territories believe only 25% or less of what they put into recycling bins in their area is actually recycled.

However, four-fifths (80%) of adults who do not currently recycle all of their plastic waste said they would recycle more frequently if they had more facilities and guidance.

Additionally, the overwhelming majority of adults (91%) across all territories believe recycling plastic is beneficial to the environment and more than two-thirds (69%) of those who do not currently recycle all of their plastic waste felt they should be recycling more.

Jennifer Perr, sustainability director at Hi-Cone, said: “The waste crisis is an issue of both packaging design and a lack of recycling culture and infrastructure.

“With the help of this report, we can take a look at where the industry can better support consumers with education and resources, and start to collaborate with local governments and private recycling partners to improve the recycling system.

“By working together with consumers and recycling organisations, the industry will be better able to make progress towards creating a circular economy.

“Open communication between the industry and the public will help prevent further environmental risk down the road by stopping the current trend of solving one problem and replacing it with an even bigger one.

“Better communication will help us find a real solution.”